Two drunken teenagers “swarmed” on another youth like “hyenas” before carrying out a joint attack which could have seriously injured him, a court was told.

Connor Mitchinson, 17 at the time, and 19-year-old Ethan Laws waylaid and attacked their victim, who they considered “odd”.

They then repeatedly punched him, before dragging him to the ground, where they kicked and stamped on him, even as he lay unconscious.

Durham Crown Court was shown CCTV footage of the incident, which took place in Pondsway, Consett, at 9.30pm on May 8 this year.

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Such was the force of the kicking, even once their victim appeared to be lying unconscious on the ground, that Mitchinson’s shoe flew off his foot across the road.

They were then seen to calmly walk away, leaving their victim prone in the road.

James Yearsley, prosecuting, said the CCTV operator alerted police as the incident was taking place, enabling officers to swiftly reach the scene to hasten the medical treatment given to the victim.

Mr Yearsley said the pair were just off the scene as the first officers arrived, but they were traced and arrested at Tower House, a nearby supported accommodation unit, where both were living at the time.

Both made no comment when they were interviewed by police.

Mr Yearsley said the offence was aggravated by the fact that both were under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and that Mitchinson had been in court and convicted of assaulting an emergency worker, receiving a conditional discharge, only three days earlier.

Both Mitchinson, now 18, and of North End, Durham, and Laws, of Fir Terrace, Esh Winning, admitted attempted unlawful wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm at earlier hearings.

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Vic Laffey, for Laws, told the court he was only very lightly convicted until this incident.

It was committed while he was on bail for a disturbance at a family birthday party in February which is why he was living in the accommodation unit in Consett.

Mr Laffey said it appeared the centre was, “a bit of a tinder box”, with other residents staying there having alcohol, drugs and social welfare issues.

He said his client, “who was lacking in maturity”, and had, “clearly had a drink that day”, affecting his actions, which at times could be, “impulsive”.

Mr Laffey told the court: “He has had a problem with binge drinking and an alcohol abstinence order could be a suitable option for him.”

But Mr Laffey said Laws now has alternative accommodation and has been making progress doing work training.

Chris Morrison, for Mitchinson, said he has mild learning and communication difficulties.

“But the backdrop to this is of a young person, who it has to be said is gallopingly immature and has a problem with the consumption of drink.

“When a young lad can’t handle his drink it’s a reflection of his general immaturity.”

“He has very little mature capacity to control his drinking.

“When the sober realisation of what he had done dawned on him he has been in mortal fear of the consequences that might follow.”

Mr Morrison said the defendant has the offer of roofing work with his father in Dorset if he was to avoid an immediate custodial sentence.

But Judge Jo Kidd said there has to be a deterrent element when sentencing for such offences of public violence while heavily intoxicated.

She said the victim, who they perceived to be “odd”, “had done nothing to deserve the behaviour that was inflicted on him.”

Judge Kidd told them: “You acted as a group, the two of you, swarming on him as you did.

“You were like a pack of hyenas and as soon as he was on the ground you inflicted numerous punches, kicks and stamps on him, even when he was unconscious.

“It’s lucky the police attended when they did.

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“Heaven only knows what impact those head injuries would have been without the benefit of swift intervention.

“Fortunately, there were no fractures to the skull or face, but that was no thanks to either of you.”

She imposed two years sentences in a young offenders’ institution on both, adding that it would have been three years each, but for their guilty pleas.